Panthers return four starters on baseball team

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Superior Sun

The Superior Panthers return seven players, including four starters from last year’s roster. The experience of those returning players will be beneficial as the Panthers prepare for the 2014 season.

First-year head coach Manuel Ortega leads the Panthers after three years as an assistant coach. Despite the return of four starters, Ortega still considers the Panthers a “young team” but expects them to compete.

“My expectations for the year are to get these guys physically and mentally ready for each game,” he said.

The 2014 Panthers are: Ceasar Villalbos, Eric Oatis, Matthew Zavala, Rickey Longoria, Andrew Lopez, Elias Olmos, Jose Lira, Vincente Arriola, Nicholas Cruz, Austin Navarrette,

Jessie Lopez, Stevie Denogean, Edgar Galindo, Steven Bryd, Jalon Murry, Joseph Diaz-Gonzales, and Daniel Ramirez.

Ortega said the team has lofty goals for this season and knows they have the talent to accomplish them.

“Our goal is to make it to the state tournament and try to become champions,” he said.

Andy Luberda (899 Posts)

Andy Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for eight high schools. His stories are published in the Southeast Valley Ledger, Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College. Andy is currently earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Communication. Andy is scheduled to complete his degree December 2014. He was born and raised in Des Plaines, Ill. In 1992, he relocated to Arizona. After a short return to Des Plaines in 1997, he returned to the Phoenix area two years later. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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